General Chemistry

Introduction to Acid-Base Reactions

Introduction to Acid-Base ReactionsSeptember 19, 2011

Following up on the 4 major classes of reactions you encounter in Org 1, let’s look at the first of those four: acid base reactions. The focus here is not initially to understand why things happen the way they …

Calculating the oxidation state of a carbon

Calculating the oxidation state of a carbonJuly 25, 2011

Try applying the rules for calculating oxidation states to carbon.

It’s going to feel a little bit weird. Why? Because there are two key differences.

First, carbon is often more electronegative …

Org 1 Review Quizzes

Org 1 Review QuizzesJanuary 7, 2011

This past semester after every tutorial session I would send an email to my student with a list of topics that we discussed, and then a list of questions intended to stimulate thinking about the key concepts we talked…

What’s a Transition State?

What’s a Transition State?November 3, 2010

Here’s a question that comes up a lot: What’s a transition state? In the Harry Potter series, Remus Lupin changed to his werewolf form when the moon was full. But he didn’t go from human to werewolf …

3 Trends That Affect Boiling Points

3 Trends That Affect Boiling PointsOctober 25, 2010

Now available – Download this awesome (free) 3-page handout on how to solve common boiling point problems.  With 10 examples of solved problems! (Also contains all the key points discussed in this post) Downlo…

Meet the (Most Important) Functional Groups

Meet the (Most Important) Functional GroupsOctober 6, 2010

Functional groups are specific groups of atoms within molecules that have very characteristic properties regardless of the other atoms present in a molecule. You’re probably familiar with several of them by now …

The Four Intermolecular Forces and How They Affect Boiling Points

The Four Intermolecular Forces and How They Affect Boiling PointsOctober 1, 2010

Now available – Download this awesome (free) 3-page handout on how to solve common boiling point problems.  With 10 examples of solved problems! (Also contains all the key points discussed in this post) MOC Bo…

How to Use a pKa Table

How to Use a pKa TableSeptember 29, 2010

Today we’ll talk about an incredibly important skill that might take some time to grasp but pays tremendous dividends. We’ll go through the exact details of how to use a pKa table. Understanding the proper…

From Gen Chem to Organic Chem, Part 14: Wrapup

September 15, 2010

So what are the key concepts from General Chemistry that you need to apply to Organic Chemistry, going in? This past summer, I saw people asking this question on places like Yahoo Answers and SDN all the time. So I de…

From Gen Chem to Organic Chem, Pt. 13 – Equilibria

From Gen Chem to Organic Chem, Pt. 13 – EquilibriaSeptember 13, 2010

(The last lesson in the series. I wish I had this series done by the time school started for most people, but I initially thought I could cover the basics of Gen Chem in 6 posts and it just kept growing – planni…